Trade negotiations between the UK and India are said to be in the “final but more challenging” phases, according to a report by the BBC.
This week, G20 trade ministers are expected to gather in India under the leadership of Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch.
Whether a trade agreement will be reached before Rishi Sunak’s travel to India in September has been the subject of rumours.
However, the BBC has been informed that the UK government does not anticipate that a complete deal will be reached by then.
The BBC report nevertheless highlights that there are still some “big nuts to crack” before an agreement could potentially be reached in the coming “months.”
The government has long viewed a trade agreement with India as one of the most advantageous bilateral agreements the UK could make after Brexit.
Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had pledged last year that an agreement would be “done” by Diwali in 2022, but that target was missed.
The UK is eager to reach a deal that might lower import duties on UK exports like cars and whisky, which are currently subject to triple-figure import charges in India.
Because of these levies, UK goods are less affordable in India and less competitive.
Due to British officials’ refusal to issue visas to Indian employees, trade negotiations have encountered obstacles in the past year.
The UK has been eager to persuade India to let more UK companies and service industries establish operations there.
The British Chambers of Commerce’s William Bain, head of trade strategy, claimed that this would be a “big win” for British companies, particularly those offering travel, business, or financial services.